Reporter's Note: The president is wading deeper into the campaign pool as more Republicans join the 2012 hunt - which means all of D.C. is getting deeper into it too. Ahem.
Dear Mr. President,
I was covering a heated and emotional fight years ago in Dallas which involved repeated trips to “the opposing camp” to get reactions to the latest allegation. Each side repeatedly fired accusations and backed them up with “facts.” Problem was, most of the time, those “facts” were heavily laced with falsehoods.
At one point I turned to my producer and said, “You know, the problem here is that both sides are so full of liars, they are each equally wise to mistrust each other.”
This is what concerns me as the rumbles of the 2012 election grow like a nasty storm over the horizon. It seems as if members of each party are so intent on sculpting the “facts” to their needs, that they are willing to ultimately toss the truth into the ditch.
For voters, this is decidedly not good. To be honest, we’re way too busy trying to navigate the potholes of this economy to spend all our time wondering if the GPS is trying to fool us. I have a house to take care of, a dog to walk, burgers to grill, guitars to play, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager to keep up with. Even in a profession like mine, it is impossible for me to know enough about everything to instantly spot falsehoods when they are lobbed out there. Plus, there are the “half-truths” or overly ambitious assertions that, while not entirely false, are certainly misleading.
Oh sure, you can send people trotting to websites like Politifact (which is great, btw) but do you seriously think that some guy out there fighting to keep his job or some woman scrambling to pay her mortgage has the time or inclination to chase down every stray rumor? Sure, people should be informed, but if Washington does not demand of itself a basic level of honesty, the D.C. pols can hardly blame us when we start saying, “Oh, they’re all just a bunch of liars.”
I have no idea what to do about this, but I thought maybe you would. (Actually the idea of making those responsible for false claims actually take off their pants and set them on fire on the Capitol steps does come to mind…) So let me know what your answer is; and please…if you don’t think it can be fixed, just give it to me straight.
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